Over this academic year, we have renewed our ongoing institutional commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity, and in recent months we have been taking steps to reform our related governance and management structures. We have also been focusing on addressing structural racism within the University. Creating an inclusive community relies on all members of our community being proactive, and this blog post outlines some of the work that we are doing institutionally and ways of getting involved.
As a University, we have not been systematically self-critical in evaluating norms and behaviours to ensure that we actively promote an inclusive environment, particularly in relation to race. As part of addressing this gap, we are working together with a small team of experts from Nous, to look with a critical external eye at Kent as an institution and to highlight those structures and practices that are embedding racial inequality, rather than challenging it. Working with an internal reference group of both staff and student stakeholders, we will be producing a Race Equality Strategy that will set the direction and propose key actions for change, which we are anticipating will be available in draft form by June.
Alongside this, we are also convening our Race Equality Charter Self-Assessment Team and we welcome expressions of interest from all staff and students – this may be to form part of the self-assessment team or part of the wider sub teams as they are created. To be involved in this work, please email with a brief paragraph on how you would like to be involved and any relevant experiences. We welcome expressions of interest from everyone, especially those who experience multiple structural disadvantages. We will keep this as a rolling call for colleagues who are interested.
Over recent weeks, the whole Executive group have undertaken training delivered by Inclusive Employers where we have learnt more about microaggressions, constructive challenge, and white privilege. These were at times uncomfortable and always challenging discussions, which have helped us advance our knowledge and engagement for development of the broader University strategy and how we bring the University values to life.
I recognise that there are many initiatives led by colleagues and students to challenge racism at Kent. We have launched new webpages that share some of the work ongoing, and we welcome additional content, including news articles or events, that you would like us to share via these pages. To add content, please email email@example.com.
I encourage all colleagues to engage with the staff training on Moodle, and to access the excellent resources, including our Student Services Moodle page, BAME Staff network collated resources and Diversity Mark, and to consider how this impacts the area in which you work and how you can make (more of) a difference every day.
Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura | Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance